Children of Mana
|Children of Mana|
North American box art
Children of Mana, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana (聖剣伝説DS CHILDREN of MANA Seiken Densetsu DS: Chirudoren obu Mana?, lit. "Holy Sword Legend DS: Children of Mana"), is a 2006 action role-playing game for the Nintendo DS handheld game console, part of the Mana series and, more specifically, of the World of Mana project launched by Square Enix. Children of Mana is the first game of the World of Mana and was developed by Nex Entertainment under the supervision of Koichi Ishii.
In the middle of the island of Illusia stands the famous Tree of Mana. Several years ago, a great disaster took place at the base of the tree and many lives were lost, leaving the main characters as orphans. A brave young boy and girl used the Sword of Mana to save the world from disaster. Now, years later, the main characters set out to investigate the details of the event that took so many loved ones away from them.
It was released on March 2, 2006 in Japan and was subsequently released on October 30, 2006, and January 12, 2007, in North America and Europe, respectively. It received mixed reviews, with generally positive reviews in Japan and negative ones in the United States.
Like previous games in the Mana series, Children of Mana displays a top-down perspective, in which the player characters navigate the terrain and fight off hostile creatures. The player controls the unnamed main character, chosen from one of four options. Each of the character options have different numerical attributes, representing their different skills with weapons or magic. The game plays out nearly identically regardless of which character is chosen, with the exception of a few quests which are specific to each option. Unlike previous games in the series, the main character typically has no companions during the game; a multiplayer option is present, however, for up to four players to play through the game together, all appearing on each others' screens. This multiplayer mode is only present with local WiFi, and progress is only saved on the host player's game.
Unlike previous games in the series, which were more typical action role-playing games, Children of Mana is a dungeon crawler, and the majority of the gameplay takes place in selected locations. These areas are reached by the player selecting them on the world map. The primary objective in each location is to clear the dungeon of monsters. Each dungeon is divided into different floors, and progress is made between each zone by the player finding an item called an object called a Gleamdrop, then carrying it and placing it in a pillar of light called a Gleamwell. The player must repeat this process on each floor of the dungeon until the last floor is reached, where the boss monster lies. When not clearing dungeons, the player stays in the Mana Village, which contains shops to purchase equipment. Dungeons can be returned to later by accepting quests from townsfolk in the Dudbear shop. During these quests the dungeon itself is slightly altered: the player's starting position may be different, the number of floors can increase, and the monsters contained may change. Like the main quests, Dudbear quests involve clearing the dungeon of monsters, sometimes to acquire an item from the end of the dungeon.
The game retains the real-time battle mechanics of previous games in the Mana series. The game sports four weapons with their own unique abilities: sword, flail, bow & arrow, and hammer. The player may wield one or two weapons at a time, and any of the four character options can use any weapon. Each weapon has standard normal attacks, special attacks, and fury attacks. The fury attacks are the strongest and require a full Fury Gauge to use, which is filled by striking enemies with standard attacks and taking damage from enemies. Different weapons can have different effects on the environment, such as the hammer's ability to smash pots. In addition to weapons, the player can select from one of eight Elementals, which provide different magical attacks and magical enhancements to weapon attacks. The player can switch between Elementals in the Mana Village. Elemental attacks can be made stronger by equipping Gems, which can also boost the player's attributes.
Children of Mana takes place in the world of Fa'diel, split into the five continents of Jadd, Topple, Wendell, Ishe, and Lorimar, as well as the island of Illusia. At the center of that island, the beginning point of the game, stands the Tree of Mana. Several years ago an event known the "great disaster" took place at the base of the Mana Tree and many lives were lost. During this event, a brave young boy and girl used the Sword of Mana to save the world from disaster. Now, a group of orphans sets out to investigate the details of the event that killed their families.
The four major characters of Children of Mana are Ferrik, Tamber, Poppen, and Wanderer. They all live together in the Mana Village, near the Mana Tree. Ferrik is a fifteen-year-old boy who is said to be brave, bright and cheerful. He lost his parents and sister in the great disaster. After having his life saved by a knight, he has been honing his skills with the sword. Tamber is a sixteen-year-old girl, with a sense of truth and justice, and an air of maturity about her. She lost her parents and little brother due to the great disaster. Tamber's weapon of choice is the bow. Poppen is a nine-year-old boy, who is stubborn and not afraid of anything. He lost his mother at birth and his father in the great disaster. Poppen's weapon of choice is the flail. Wanderer is a traveling merchant, a tradition kept throughout the series. He is a member of the Niccolo tribe of rabbit/cat people. Wanderer's weapon of choice is the hammer.
One day, following a flash of light, the stone at the base of the Mana Tree cracks, distorting time and space. Whichever of the four characters the player chose recalls that their friend Tess, who is a priestess, went to the Mana Tower to pray, and goes to find her. After reaching the tower with an Elemental in tow, the hero finds the tower is infested with monsters. Upon fighting their way to the top of the tower, the hero finds Tess, frightened but unharmed. Suddenly, a giant flaming bird descends upon the two. The hero attempts to fight it, but finds that the bird is protected by a sort of barrier. A sword then falls from the sky, causing the bird's shield to fade away and allowing the hero to slay the beast. When the bird is defeated, a mysterious man garbed in black appears and attempts to take the Holy Sword, which is still stuck in the ground, but finds that it is protected by a barrier. The man disappears, and the hero takes the Holy Sword, which turns out to be the fabled Sword of Mana.
Upon returning from the Mana Tower, the hero discovers that three mysterious pillars of light have struck in the lands of Topple, Jadd, and Lorimar. The hero, after being asked by the leaders of the village, investigates these places and finds dungeons full of monsters with a huge monster at the end. After completing their three tasks, the mysterious man appears once again, identifying himself as the Mana Lord. He steals the Mana Sword and causes a large storm in the land of Wendel. The hero journeys there to stop the Mana Storm by confronting the Mana Lord. When the Mana Lord is about to kill the hero, a group of gems appear around him to prevent his attack. He decides to instead kidnap Tess and vanishes.
After returning to the Mana Village, the hero heads for the Path of Life under the roots of the Mana Tree. At the end of the Path, the hero finds the Mana Lord waiting. Upon his defeat, the Mana Lord reveals that he was one of the two children of Mana who had saved the world during the great disaster, and rather than trying to hurt anyone he was simply trying to fulfill the reason he was created: "to fill the world with the power of Mana." He tells the hero that the other child of Mana is spreading disaster through the world, and must be stopped. He proceeds to give the Mana Sword to the hero, then commits suicide by throwing himself off a cliff. This shift in power causes a rift to open in the sky, where the second child of Mana is waiting. The hero destroys this second child, the Scion of Mana, restoring the world to peace.
In the aftermath, Tess and the Elementals are entrusted with care of Illusia, while everyone else must leave. Moti says that Illusia will be protected as a haven, and that humans won't return for many more years. They make for Jadd, to start a new life in a new world.
A Seiken Densetsu game for the Nintendo DS was announced just prior to the Japanese launch of the handheld system in late 2004. The following spring, a trailer for the World of Mana project was shown at E3 2005, but the project was kept mostly under wraps by publisher Square Enix. The new installment, now titled Children of Mana, was not revealed as a separate game until that September.
Children of Mana was developed by Nex Entertainment. The game features an opening cinematic by acclaimed anime studio Production I.G. The game was designed and produced by Koichi Ishii, the creator of the Seiken Densetsu (Mana) series. The game was directed by Yoshiki Ito, and the characters were designed by Nao Ikeda and Ryoma Itō. The script was written by Teppei Suzuki, Takeshi Kawamura, and Michita Nagato, based on the original and additional story provided by Masato Kato and Atushi Comine, respectively. Passing up the opportunity to utilize the Nintendo Wifi function of the DS, Ishii's aim was to create a multiplayer experience similar to that of Secret of Mana in which players could enjoy the game with those close to them, as opposed to playing with people far away. Furthermore, the developers decided upon a randomly generated dungeon crawl mechanic to make Children of Mana a "fun-for-all action type game."
The music for the game was composed by Kenji Ito, Masaharu Iwata, and Takayuki Aihara. The Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana Original Soundtrack features 33 tracks spanning two discs. It was made available exclusively for paid download on the Japanese iTunes Store on May 9, 2006.
|Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana Original Soundtrack tracklist|
|Disc 1 (43:51)
||Disc 2 (40:22)
Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana sold near 103,000 units on its first 3 days on sale in Japan (between March 2 and March 5). As of November 2008, the game has sold over 281,000 copies in that region. In Japan, Children of Mana received an impressive score of 36/40 (individual reviews: 10/10/8/8) from Famitsu.
As for the reviews abroad, Children of Mana has been met with relatively mixed. Some reviewers thought that the game was a boring hack-and-slash, such as Nintendo Power (which gave it a 6.5), while others have given it higher praise, such as an 8.0 from IGN, though their review of the UK version gives the game 6.8.
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- Go Nintendo » Blog Archive » Children of Mana Famitsu score- What are you waiting for?
- Official Children of Mana site
- Official World of Mana site (Japanese)
- Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana at IGN.com
- Children of Mana at Seikens.com